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Welcome, friend! Relax & rest awhile, if you please. I'm an ordinary girl, a follower of Christ, mama to Gabriel, & wife to Evan. Here in this little space of the online world, I share all manner of bookish things, including full content reviews, writerly snippets, encouragement for everyday life, and a whole collection of names & their meanings.

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Book Review! | The Silent Songbird

The Silent Songbird
(Hagenheim #7)
Melanie Dickerson

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Genre:  Christian, Fantasy, Historical, Fiction
Released:  November 8th, 2016

Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn't even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England's monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
This is another sweet, little fairytale by Melanie Dickerson.  I've loved every single one of her books, and this one is no exception.  A retelling of The Little Mermaid, this story follows the journey and adventure of Evangeline, a beautiful maiden who longs for nothing more than freedom and the chance for true love.

Evangeline has a kind and caring heart.  She finds her courage and bravery in protecting those she loves, even when they may reject her at the moment.

Characters lie and deceive one another, supposedly to protect each other from a villain.  However, lies hurt, no matter what purpose they may be for.  Evangeline pretends to be mute in order to protect her identity.  Her handmaiden lies continuously due to that.

A man who everyone takes to be loyal to the king, turns out to be evil and vile.  No other words for him. (But I suppose if he weren't in the tale, there'd be no villain, and therefore, not much of a story. . .)

{Spiritual Content}
Evangeline prays to her Lord almost constantly.  It is sweet to see how her relationship with God is a friendship.  She goes to him when everyone around her seems to let her down.  

Villagers attend chapel where a priest gives a sermon and hymns are sung.

A man is hit in the head with a block of wood and shoved down a bank into a river.  Obviously, whoever attacked him left him to drown.  ([SPOILER!!] He's saved!)  A woman is beaten and tortured for information.  A man of questionable character is threatened with a bow and arrow (it's not fired, just threatened).  A woman is kidnapped and thrown into a cellar of some kind, she escapes and assaults one of her mockers, knocking them to the ground.  A few men suffer arrow wounds.  A woman is slapped on the cheek, resulting in a red mark and a cut lip.

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
None.  Some alcoholic beverages are served in taverns and inns, as well as royal parties.

It is obvious that there is an attraction between Evangeline and Westley, the son of the lord of Glynval.  They talk quite a bit, share free time (in which they relax in a special reading nook in the castle gardens and take turns reading from the English Bible), hug, and--of course!--eventually kiss.

I know I keep using the word, but this was a sweet tale.  There's action, adventure, romance, and a wee bit of the historical in the place settings, dress, wares, etc.  I enjoyed this story and would definitely recommend.  :]

Recommended ages:  16+


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To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

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